Here’s something you’ve never seen before, a joy-stick (coaxial) bipod with a front counter-weight. This one-of-a-kind “JoyPod” was produced by Seb Lambang for our friend Darrell Buell. With a very porky ultra-long-range rifle to support, Darrell needed a JoyPod that wouldn’t sink under a heavy load.
Seb explains: “This is the world’s first Joypod equipped w/ an adjustable counterweight, to balance his 75-lb gun. I did some experiments and put some weights ranging up to 60+ lbs on the top, and I found that the joystick action works like a regular one….it’s smooth, light, and precise. In addition, the counterweight can be bent down to not interfere with the bottom of the barrel. I would guess Darrell would only need one “ring” for his 75-lb gun. He can move the ring back and forth to find the best balance. Once the gun is on the bipod, it would only take a few minutes to tune or find the balance.”
Darrell is happy with his new toy: “In addition to the adjustable counterweight system on the front, this JoyPod comes with a longer, solid joystick. These additions will make for extremely smooth, precise adjustments, even if the rifle weighs in at 75 pounds or more. Not including the counterweight, the actual structure of this bipod weighs in at a mere 1.09 pounds — exactly what the standard JoyPod weighs. It is extremely strong, however. Seb has pictures of himself standing on the pod … and he weighs 150 pounds! The custom Pod-Pad with insets for the skis is just another one of Seb’s [products].”
Speaking of Pod-Pads, look carefully at the photo again. There’s a special new feature you might have missed. Seb explains: “I also created a “groove” on the Pod-Pad, where the feet of the bipod will ride. I was informed that was OK for the ELR match/discipline. That will help the rifle and bipod combo to track better under recoil.”
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The NRA Bianchi Cup kicked off yesterday under wet, gray skies. Despite the rain, many shooters still managed to pull off perfect scores through the first day, including defending champion Kevin Angstadt and 15-time winner Doug Koenig. Today sunshine greeted the shooters and the action continues…
Check out this “Sizzle Reel” from the 2013 NRA Bianchi Cup:
About the Bianchi Cup
The Bianchi Cup is the NRA National Action Pistol Championship, a major tournament held every May in Columbia, Missouri. The premier action pistol championship, the Bianchi Cup boasts the largest purse of any tournament on the action pistol calendar. The Bianchi Cup is the only major shooting tournament that has retained its original Course of Fire since its inception. The Course of Fire consists of four separate matches:
The Practical Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at distances from 10 yards to 50 yards under varying time limits.
The Barricade Event: From within shooting boxes and behind barricades, a shooter fires at targets on either side of the barricade at different distances and under varying time limits.
The Falling Plate Event: From the appropriate shooting line, the shooter fires at 8 inch round steel plates arranged in banks of six at distances from 10 to 25 yards under varying time limits.
The Moving Target Event: From within shooting boxes at distances ranging from 10 to 25 yards, the shooter fires at a target moving from left to right with the target being exposed for only 6 seconds.
Due to the high accuracy required in each stage of the Bianchi Cup, the tournament is widely considered one of the most difficult handgun championships on the planet.
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The Where To Shoot Mobile App quickly locates shooting ranges near you, drawing on North America’s most comprehensive directory of shooting ranges. Users can search by current location, state, or zip code. Once you locate a range, you can view activities offered along with a summary of range facilities. You can even get driving directions.
The app is modeled after NSSF’s popular WhereToShoot.org® website and is updated frequently with range information for every U.S. state and Canadian province. Once you’ve located a place to shoot, the App can provide directions to the range. The App also includes video tips for shooters, news, and firearm-safety information.
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Here is a very interesting rifle, a true metal/wood hybrid that combines an aluminum front section with figured walnut in the rear half. As you can see, this unique rifle also features a barrel block that allows the Savage action to float. You may be wondering “how is the metal section connected to the wood?” The gun’s owner/builder epoxied a stainless steel tube in the wood and that tube is secured in the aluminum fore-end with set screws.
Forum member Justin V. reports: “Sometime last fall my buddy wanted to build barrel-blocked Bavage. He is a machinist by trade so he was able to build all of the custom components himself. I know he put a ton of time into this thing over the winter, taking his time to get it done right. If you shoot in Cadillac or Midland, Michigan you will probably see him around. He tried to shoot a match this past weekend but was rained out. Hopefully it will stop raining in Michigan so he can see what it can do at 600 yards. Here are the results….” Learn more about this gun in this FORUM Thread.
Details of Build
Action: Savage RBLP with PT&G bolt body and bolt head.
Barrel: 32″ Bartlein, 1.25″ straight taper
Chambering: .284 Shehane (PT&G Reamer) — chambered by local smith
Stock blank: Richard’s AAA Claro Walnut
Metalwork: Barrel block, forearm, bag ski are all aluminum
Riflescope: Sightron SIII 10-50X60mm
Weight: 22 pounds
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If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane, an improved version of the .284 Winchester. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel!
Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. This was the first five rounds through it after I cleaned it after the last match. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.
Ya, I figured why not I had some old barrels laying around so I just chopped 2″ off the back and 1″ off the front and chambered it up as a Shehane. Had 1000 pieces to fireform and didn’t want to do all that on a brand new barrel.
My fireform loads are going 2765 FPS. I have a 29″ barrel also though since it’s a setback. Once you get it formed I would push it faster than that or I wouldn’t even bother with the Shehane. My old straight .284 load at 2890 fps had ES spread in single digits for 10 shots. I figured if I get it up to 2935-2950 fps that will be a point or two saved in a several day match.
Fellow .284 Shehane shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.
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As a cartridge case is reloaded multiple times, burnt powder residue and carbon builds up on the inside of the case. Unless the case interior is cleaned in some fashion, eventually you’ll see a reduction in case capacity. One of our Forum members from Australia wonders about the effects of reduced case capacity: “If the capacity of the case decreases as the crud builds up, then it effectively reduces the chamber size. Wouldn’t that change the pressure produced from that of an equivalent clean case?”
Ultrasonic Cleaning Example:
Interesting Test of Case Capacity Changes
Forum member Fred Bohl has actual test results that can help answer the above question. Fred proved that, over a 20-reload cycle, the case capacity of uncleaned cases did, indeed, decline a small amount. However, surprisingly, this did not seem to affect the actual chronographed velocity of the load. ES did increase, but Fred believes the higher ES was due to changes in case-neck tension, rather than due to the slight reduction in case capacity.
A while back, John Siebel, creator of the VarmintsForFun.com website, put together a 6-6.5×47 Varminter with a Lilja 10-twist barrel and BAT RBRP three-lug action. Richard Franklin smithed the gun using a Model 10 Varminter stock, one of Richard’s own stock designs.
Varmint Loads with 75gr and 87gr V-Maxs
Our Forum readers have asked for recommended 6-6.5×47 Lapua loads for the lighter bullets. Well, John has published some useful load data on his site that should provide excellent starting points for 75gr and 87gr projectiles. John writes: “The 75s and 87s will be my main groundpig/varmint rounds. I have worked up loads for all of them but I need to work on the 95s to fine tune them for the egg shoot. I used CCI 450 primers for all loads. They have shown to reduce ES greatly. This case has a small primer pocket and I reasoned with the slower burning powders I wanted to get my velocity as high as possible. I had plenty of H 414 and N 550 … so that’s what I tried. Velocities and case fullness seemed to be pretty dang good.”
John favored Vihtavuori N550 for the 75 V-Max, while H414 was his powder of choice for the 87gr V-Max. John found these two powders offered near 100% fill density. CLICK HERE to view John’s load details and the view more photos of John’s handsome varmint rig.
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Minnesota and Vermont could soon become the 40th and 41st states to legalize the ownership of firearm suppressors. The Minnesota Legislature recently approved legislation (SF 878), which among other things would legalize the ownership of suppressors and their use for hunting. Additionally, late last week, the Vermont Senate added an amendment to a hunting bill (H. 5) to legalize the ownership and possession of suppressors. If you are a resident of either of these states, the NSSF requests that you contact your governor in support of these bills. Suppressors are currently legal to use and possess in 39 states, while 35 states currently allow suppressor use for hunting.
Currently, suppressor ownership is legal in 39 states, provided the owners comply with federal paperwork requirements (and pay a tax for each unit). This graphic shows where silencers are legal to own, and where they may be used for hunting:
Map created by American Silencer Institute (ASA).
Approximately 27,000 suppressors, also called “silencers” or “sound moderators”, are sold in the United States every year. That may surprise you because the main-stream media often incorrectly report that suppressors are illegal. In fact, suppressors are legal to own in 39 states, provided that the devices are acquired in compliance with federal and state laws (which are explained below). In most of those 39 states, owners of legally-acquired suppressors may use their “cans” for hunting.
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Here’s a smart new product that offers security with rapid access, using RFID (radio frequency identification) technology. The NRA Quick Vent Safe holds a handgun, keys, flashlight, or valuables. Using a coded RFID fob or card, you can instantly open the Vent Safe with a wave of your hand.
The Fullbore (Palma) World Championships will be held at Camp Perry, Ohio this summer. The American squad arrived a bit early — for a few days of team practice. Our friend Anette Wachter (aka 30 Cal Gal) is in Ohio with Team USA and she posted some photos on Facebook. Skies were gray, but that didn’t deter the American shooters who practiced their shooting under the watchful eyes of top wind coaches.
Take a look at the photo above. How many ace American shooters can you spot? Here’s one hint — pulling the black wheeled case is John Whidden, past U.S. Long-Range National Champion.
At right is the first bit of Team USA swag. Anette says there is more to come — team shirts and jackets were sized and ordered for all the U.S.A. shooters and coaches.
1000 yards? Heck, for these KO2M guys, that’s just a warm-up — they plan to shoot out to 2500 yards and beyond. A new ultra-long-range event will be held this summer in New Mexico at the NRA Whittington Center. The King of Two Miles (KO2M) match will be held on July 1-2, 2015, right before the Fifty Caliber Shooters Assocation (FCSA) 1000-yard World Championships. If you like hurling big projectiles at very long ranges, Whittington is the place to be in July. The KO2M event is “wide-open” — any caliber is allowed and rifle size/weight is limited only by the shooter’s ability to lift the gun himself. Rifles will be shot prone with bipod.
Two Miles (Well Not Quite)
The name of the event is a bit of a misnomer, as the max range will be roughly 2500 yards. That’s WAY less than a full two miles (3520 yards). KO2M organizers do plan to go all the way out to two miles in the future, but they say their target and spotting technology isn’t up to that yet. Accordingly, the 2015 course of fire will include steel and electronic targets placed at known distances from 1000 to roughly 2500 yards. Next year, hopefully, the max range will be extended to over two miles, but, for now: “Current optical systems do not allow that.”
“The overturning moment MW tends to rotate the bullet about an axis, which goes through the CG (center of gravity) and which is perpendicular to the plane of drag….
Ruprecht Nennstiel, a forensic ballistics expert from Wiesbaden, Germany, has authored a great resource about bullet behavior in flight. Nennstiel’s comprehensive article, How Do Bullets Fly, explains all the forces which affect bullet flight including gravity, wind, gyroscopic effects, aerodynamic drag, and lift. Nennstiel even explains the rather arcane Magnus Force and Coriolis Effect which come into play at long ranges. Nennstiel’s remarkable resource contains many useful illustrations plus new experimental observations of bullets fired from small arms, both at short and at long ranges.
Shadowgraph of .308 Winchester Bullet
A convenient index is provided so you can study each particular force in sequence. Writing with clear, precise prose, Nennstiel explains each key factor that affects external ballistics. For starters, we all know that bullets spin when launched from a rifled barrel. But Nennstiel explains in greater detail how this spinning creates gyroscopic stability:
Here’s a cleverly-designed convertible F-Class stock that can be used for either F-TR competition (with bipod) or for F-Open shooting (with front sled). Designed by Brian Fox of Fox Fireams UK, this all-new design features a barrel block, allowing a variety of actions to be used. The “Fox Stock” weighs just 5.7 pounds. This allows the F-TR version to easily make weight with competition bipod and a large scope. Our friend Vince Bottomley from the UK offers this report.
Fox F-Class Stock for F-TR and F-Open by Vince Bottomley
Brian Fox’s new stock can be used for either F-TR with bipod (EVO bipod shown in photos) or for F-Open with front bag-rider attached via the full-length accessory rail on the underside. The bag-rider is machined from high-grade plastic and is three inches wide to suit most front rests.
PMA Tool offers Euro-style, black-on-white, oval stickers that look cool on your car, truck, SUV, RV, or camping trailer. As PMA says: “Let your shooting buddies know what you shoot, while leaving your non-shooting neighbors scratching their heads.” Place the stickers in the corner of a rear window or slap ‘em on a bumper. They also look nice on a range box or plastic rifle case.
There are currently five cartridge sticker versions,”5.56″, “7.62”. “6BR”, “PPC”, and “Dasher”, priced at $5.95 per sticker. There is also a “PMA sticker”. PMA Tool may produce stickers for other chamberings if there is sufficient demand. What other cartridge types would you like to see? Perhaps generic “6mm”, “6.5mm”, and “7mm” stickers?
Shooters rejoice — we now have new propellant options for rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Noble Sport is now importing its VECTAN series of powders, which are available now at Grafs.com. What’s even nicer, the VECTAN bottles contain 1.1 pounds of powder, so you get a little extra for your money (compared to traditional 1-pound containers). Check the VECTAN Reloading Data Page to see what Nobel Sport powders best suit your needs.
“Shooting Chrony” is a product name. “Shooting Chrony” should not describe (post-mortem) what you have been doing to your chronograph. Sooner or later all of us may make a mistake, and ventilate our chronograph. With luck, the bullet just “wings” your chronograph, and the damage is minor. But if you hit the unit smack dab in the middle, you may have to retire your chrono for good.
A while back, Forum member Jeff M. (aka “JRM850″) experienced a “low blow” that put his Shooting Chrony out of commission. With tongue firmly in cheek, Jeff started a Forum thread entitled Chronograph Not Picking Up Shots in Bright Sunlight Anymore. Looking at the photo below, the problem is obvious.
This was Jeff’s first chrono kill in 23 years of use, so we shouldn’t be too critical. Jeff explained: “I didn’t realize a friend was shifting from a 300-yard target to 100 yards.” The agent of destruction was a low-traveling 58gr V-Max running at 3415 fps. What happened? Well, when one is shooting at 300 yards, the trajectory will be higher than at 100 yards. We should say, however, that this may have been a low shot, or the 100-yard aiming point may have been placed lower to the ground (closer to the bottom of the target frame), as compared to the 300-yard aiming point.
The last half-inch or so of your barrel is absolutely critical. Any damage (or abnormal wear) near the crown will cause a significant drop-off in accuracy. Here are ways you can check the end of your barrel, using a common Q-Tip.
Use Q-Tip for Barrel Inspection
To find out if you have a burr or damage to your crown, you can use an ordinary Q-tip cotton swab. Check the edges of the crown by pulling the Q-tip gently out past the edge of the crown. If you have a burr, it will “grab” the cotton and leave strands behind.
Larry Willis has another way to use a Q-Tip: “Here’s a neat trick that will surprise you with how well it works.” Just insert a Q-Tip into your barrel (like the picture below), and it will reflect enough light so that you can get a real good look at the last half inch of rifling and the crown of your barrel. In most cases you’ll find that this works much better than a flashlight. Larry tells us: “I’ve used this method about a jillion times. Q-Tips are handy to keep in your cleaning supplies anyway. This is a good way to judge approximately how well you are cleaning your barrel when you’re at the range. It’s also the best way to examine your barrel when you’re in the field.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) this week learned that United Parcel Service (UPS) has apparently changed its policy regarding the shipment of firearms suppressors. According to the NSSF, a new policy is in effect at UPS facilities nationwide. This new policy states that UPS will no longer ship suppressors, even between Federal licensees.
NSSF representatives are now trying to find out why UPS has changed its shipping policies:
“NSSF is working with UPS executives to determine what prompted the enforcement of this unwarranted policy. We are unaware of any thefts or losses that would explain the shipping company’s sudden decision to enforce a prohibition against shipment. NSSF will keep you apprised of developments. Separately, NSSF is also working with the U.S. State Department to achieve a change of policy to allow export of suppressors.”
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